Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Retail Truths: We're All in This Together Except That We're Not

I get along really well with several other vendors at both locations where I have booths.  That's kind of an important thing for a lot of reasons.  It's boring work sometimes, so it's really good to have folks that you can chat with while you're stocking and cleaning your space.  We offer each other advice, share leads, and even swap junk with each other.  A dud for you may turn into a seller for someone else, and once it's out of your space, you don't have to look at it any more!  It's also really good to have someone to share your success stories and your gripes with.  No one understands both like someone who is out there day and day out slogging for junk too.  I love to see and hear about other vendors' awesome finds and show them mine.  Getting complimented by another vendor on a good find is one of the encouragements that can keep you going.

As a vendor, you want yourself surrounded by good vendors.  If you are in an area of the mall that has a bunch of other folks who work their space as often and hard as you work yours, then you'll get much better traffic than if you have neighbors who act like they don't give a damn about selling stuff.  (You'd be surprised how many of those there are out there.  Seriously!)

But, you also need to keep in mind the flip side to your relationship with other vendors:  They are your competition.  They want the same thing that you want, the money that's currently in the customer's pocket.  Sometimes you're going to get it.  Sometimes they're going to get it.  Sometimes both of you will get a little of it.  And sometimes neither of you will get it.

You don't have to be rude, mean, unethical or  two-faced about it. I genuinely like everyone that I interact with and I am happy for them when they do well.  But, I also fully admit that I want to do better than them.  I want my space to stand out more.  I want the customers to see me first.  And, as long as I am not doing anything to directly harm my neighbors, there's nothing wrong with that.  It's just business.

During Christmas last year, I put out a brass sleigh in one of my booths.  It was a cute little thing and I priced it what I felt was a good price.  A couple of days later, I thought I saw it at the register as someone was buying it.   Turns out that it wasn't my brass sleigh, but an identical one from another vendor who had priced it at half what I had mine.  You win some and you lose some!

Later that same day, this vendor and I were talking in my booth, when she saw my sleigh and my price and became very embarrassed.  She apologized for selling the same item for less and told me that she hadn't known I had one.  She even went so far as to tell me that the next time it happens to mark her item up to the same price as mine!

She was really surprised when I told her it was no big deal.  "Sometimes you get the sale,"  I told her, "And sometimes I do.  Today, you did.  That's all."  She actually tried to tell me that she hadn't been fair to me, but I tried to explain that, sometimes, it's about competition.  "We want each other to do well, because that means the store will do well.  And, when the store does well, we all do well.  But we're also competing with each other for the business that customers bring in."  Eventually, I think I got her to see that she didn't have anything to apologize for or be embarrassed over.  She had made a sale that was good for her.  That's all.

A few days later, my sleigh sold.  In the end, that's what matters.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This Is How We Do It: Big Book Sale Edition

This is another part of the "This is How We Do It" series.  As always, these are my own reflections and thoughts about various aspects of junking and re-selling.  Your opinion my differ and your mileage may vary.  That's totally fine.  In fact, if they do, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.  You can find other posts in this series by using the "How We Do It" label.

So, the big, big, BIG library book sale was a few weeks ago, and the last day found me wandering among the tables filling up boxes of books, when it occurred to me that this might make a good topic for a post.

When I started re-selling, one of the things I really wanted to sell was books, largely because:

A)  I love books and
B) I have a lot of them

I started small, with just a few here and there and tried to concentrate mainly on things that I had read out of my own stash that I wasn't planning to keep.  I pick up a lot cheap at yard sales and figured I could pass those along cheaply as well.

When I took the second of my four spaces at the Peddlers Mall, I decided to focus on books and media in that spot.  It's gone on to become an important part of my set-up.  I sell something out of that spot pretty much every day--usually several somethings.  This means I need to keep it stocked with fresh stuff constantly.  I can't do it solely out of my own personal stash any more, although that still contributes a small percentage of each weekly restock.  (I do read several things a week, after all.)  So, I have to buy titles specifically for resale.

Yard sales, bookstore markdowns, and the like provide can provide a healthy source of stock, but the real bang for your buck comes from large sales like the library sale.  But, if you're not careful, you can end up with a lot of duds, instead of things that will fly off your shelves.  When I was shopping the library sale, I tried to think about the principles that guide me when I'm choosing titles to buy.  I'd like to share a few of them here.  Some of these principles probably also apply to smaller scale purchases, as well.

Go on Box Day.  Most large scale sales will have a discount day on the last day when you can buy by the bag or box for a set price.  As far as bang for your buck goes, this is the way to go.  For the price of three or four books during the regular-price days, you can walk out with a box full of dozens.  Yes, you might miss something special, but there will still be plenty left to choose from.  It's hard for a large-scale sale to get completely picked over.  I recently went to the last day of a benefit sale that had run for a week and had no problem filling up two boxes of stuff.  Plus, the crowds don't seem to be as bad on box days, although that may be a misconception.  You will have deal with other dealers, though, but the scanners will have come and gone by that point.

Scanners Suck.  I have nothing against bar-code scanner apps for smart phones and other gadgets.  I have one myself and use it.  I have a great dislike for the people who use them as if they were the be-all and end-all to reselling.  Honestly, if you aren't prepared to actually do the work to learn something along the way, you'll never amount to much as a reseller.  My scanner confirms my choices.  It doesn't make them for me.

Be Discriminating.  It's tempting to just start scooping stuff up on Box Day, but if you do that you'll most likely end up with a whole bunch of unsellable crap.  I do see dealers walking through filling up box after box and stacking them up, but these are high volume sellers who have the space to sell and store their stuff.  Try to play like them and you'll drown.  It's okay to be choosy.

Know Your Audience.  I have a good picture in my head of the people who shop at both locations where I have booths.  If you spend some time hanging out in your mall and pay attention, you'll develop one too.  I make sure that a good portion of what I'm picking up is stuff that those shoppers will want to buy and read.  It's important to remember that you are not the customer who's shopping in your space, and if you aim only for stuff that you personally like, you'll close off part of your audience.

Know What's Going On.  Trends can be a trap, but if you are careful about it and don't overdo it, you can use them to your advantage.  There seems to be an interest in vintage craft books right now, so I always make sure to pick a few up when I find them.  As long as you are choosy and pick higher quality items, you won't set stuck with a bunch of unsellable stuff when the trend cools off.

Avoid Traps.  Last year's bestsellers.  Harlequins.  Cliched, overexposed authors.  Every time I hear someone tell me that books don't sell, this is the kind of stuff I see in their inventory.  No one is going to by a copy of that Dan Brown book from you.  Everyone that wanted to read it got it when it was new.  I once bought three boxes of books at an auction.  There was a lot of good stuff in them, but I also ended up with something like 29 Harlequin romances.  I was going to donate them, but at the last minute changed my mind and put them in the booth.  It took months to sell them!  I got so sick of looking at them.  Never again.

Ex-Library is a No-No.  Even though it's a library sale, I tend to stay away from books that were actually a part of the library's circulating stacks.  No one wants to buy something that's covered in stamps and labels.  And the condition can be quite ratty.

Condition Matters.  You want to have a rep for selling good quality stuff, so put good quality stuff in your box.  It's okay to be choosy.  You'll still fill up a box or two.  I promise.

Hit the Media Table.  I know it's the digital age, but there are always people who are slow to convert or who never convert.  I can still sell cassettes and 8-tracks!  (Not that I'm going to be investing in a ton of either, mind you.  Just a few interesting ones here and there.)  Because more and more people are opting for digital delivery and storage options, it means that items like CD's and DVD's are still available on Box Day.  I have a nice little niche for both in my spaces.

Have a Limit in Mind.  With bulk buying, there is always a temptation to go overboard and buy more than you need.  While having a small backstock can be a good idea, you have to remember that items sitting around in a box don't make you any money.  I go in with a pre-set limit in mind (usually 3-5 boxes) and stick with it.  Set your limit based on your needs at the moment.  If you have been selling a lot of books recently, then you may need a higher limit.  If you have boxes waiting to go to the booth, it may need to be smaller.  Regardless, set it and stick with it!

Create Niches for Yourself.  Look around your mall and see what kind of books others are offering.  Unless you can feel like you can do it in a way that attracts shoppers' attention, avoid the kinds of things everyone else is doing.  Believe it or not, you can cater to the folks who shop at your mall and still be different from everyone else, since, chances are, your competition hasn't really put a lot of thought into their books.  You can also create niches for yourself that build an audience and make you stand out.

Avoid the Children's Section.  This is just a personal preference, but those tables are always crowded and the books are usually all pretty rough from circulation.  With a limited amount of time, and a wide array of choices, I just feel mine is better spent elsewhere.

Watch Your Stash!  If you're going to buy more than one box, you're probably going to have to start setting them somewhere so you can keep shopping.  Unless you're the Incredible Hulk, lugging around boxes full of books can impede the process.  Typically, on box day, it's understood that the boxes stacked along the walls are off-limits, so that shoppers can place their stashes there, but there's always a clueless newbie that comes along and start rooting.  Unless you plan ahead and bring your own sign or marker to id your boxes, plan on keeping an eye on them.  I've had to (politely) run off folks at just about every sale.

Pack.  Sort.  Repeat.  You'll make better use of your time if you do your deliberations all at once.  If something looks interesting to me, I'll throw it in a box and keep going.  Then, when I've got several boxes full, I'll sit down and start seriously going through everything.  This is the time to give every book the third degree:  Can I sell this?  At which spot?  Who would want to buy it?  Carefully thumb through things and make sure that they are in sellable shape.  And start packing your boxes deliberately,  You want to get as much in each box as possible to maximize your spending power.  (And don't forget your limit!)

Re-browse.  I always check back over tables that I've already visited, because stuff is always getting added, even on the last day.  When I find that I've gone through the entire place and not added anything to my pile, then it's time to sit and deliberate.

Avoid Temptation.  If you are a book-lover, you can allow yourself a title or two as a reward for spending all your time being a wise buisnessperson, but keep your true purpose in mind.  You are there to find things to sell, not build your own library.  The vast majority of items in your boxes should be earmarked for a booth.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Rambles

2007 is down folks, so I'm looking at my two largest blogging years square in the face:  2010 (114 posts) and 2008 (122 posts).  You're going down guys.  Just wait for it.  I've got enough blog drafts stored up to blow past you both and set a new personal blogging record.  As long as  I finish them.  Boo-yah!

Sorry for the sporadicidity (new word!) of last week.  It just could not be helped.  Think things will be better this week.  I hope.

At least it does seem like it might be better.  I've got an employment prospect lined up to replace (part of) the hours I lost from the cancellation, and I've been informed that the cancelled work is in the process of being rescheduled.  So, we'll see.  Sometimes this freelance thing has its ups and downs.

The replacement gig is going to be interested.  I've worked with this group before, but I have been informed that their supervisor is going to be sitting in this time.  I know I'm good at what I do, so this time I just have to be extra-good, I guess.  We'll see.

It has been infernally hot around here and that is slowing down sales a bit.  People just don't want to get out right now.  Eventually, that will start working in our favor, since the junking jonesing will eventually hit and people will "have" to get out, but will shy away from outdoor venues into those with a/c and the booths will win!  Still for June, it hasn't been that bad of a month,

I have had sales every day at YesterNook (this is the first month that has happened).  Now, some of them have been small sales, but small is better than no sales.  I'm adjusting my expectations there and starting to come to terms with the environment.  My other booth has done well--holding steady for the most part, although last week was a little slow.  Only a couple of exceptional days, but everything has stayed within its normal, predictable range.  And I can live with that.

I started cleaning out the junk room in the house last week.  I am finally to the point where I can see the end to that project.  Not that I am finished, mind you.  I've got a ways to go, but the project is starting to resemble the end result I have in my head. 

One of the fun things about taking on such a task is what I call "shopping twice."  I've found a couple of stashes of merch that got lost, including a box of Snoopys (Snoopies?) that kind of got buried.  It's now priced and headed for the booth.  I've also kind of recaptured one of my original missions with my booth, which was to help get rid of some of the excess stuff in the house.  By the time I'm done with this room, I'll have brought some much-needed organization to this whole re-sale thing.  I'll also (finally) have it concentrated in one room, instead of all over the house.

Speaking of which, today is the only day this week I have to work around the house, so I'd better get back to it.  See you all around.  I'm pretty sure there will be a few posts this week (I've got those triple digit years in my sights, after all), but I'm not sure it will be every day or not.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Out of them all, this one is by far my favorite!

Yes, he really just said that:

1.  Jesus was crucified on a pyramid.
2. By aliens.  Not the Jews, who have been blamed for centuries based on bad Bible interpretation.  Not the Romans.  Aliens.  Someone alert the Pope.
3.  The proof is on the Ohio flag.  I guess if you live in Ohio you should worry about something, but I really have no clue what it would be.

Folks, for the whole "train wreck" aspect of this stuff, it's awfully hard to beat Gorilla199.  He kind of runs the gamut, combining all kinds of alien invasion and Illuminati takeover stuff with a bizarre brand of apocalyticism that sees anyone and everyone as agents of the Anti-Christ.  He's also somewhat of a chameleon, changing and updating his beliefs from time to time.

He was square on the reptilian alien shapeshifter impostor bandwagon for a while, but he fell off of it.  Now, he seems to think that the whole thing is some sort of Masonic creation.  At least, he seesm determined to prove that David Icke, primary reptilian theorist, is actually a Mason.

He's also got a thing about someone called Apollyon the Destroyer, and the letters I, O, and X, particularly when they are seen together.  He also displays that uncanny ability many of these theorists have to see sinister symbols absolutely everywhere.  It often involves completely deconstructing or rearranging something (like he does with the Crucifixion scene in this video), but eventually he will get everything in the right order to make it say what he wants/needs it to say.

I've said it before when discussing this topic, but it bears repeating:


Simply fascinating.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tunes of Doom!

It's one thing to call yourself a prophet and deliver messages of the end times.  It's quite another to set them to music.  Check this out:

Admittedly, not all of his tunes are this catchy, but I'd get a CD of this stuff if he'd ever put one out.  I cannot decide if my favorite line is the one about AntiChrist not being "nice" or the one about having "no 'lectricity."  Yes, meet William Tapley.  The Third Eagle of the Apocalypse and Co-Prophet of the End Times.  No, I don't know what those titles mean either or who bestowed them upon him.  (Although, he's probably sure it was God.)

What I find most interesting about Tapley (and what keeps me checking his stuff out) is the fact that he's Catholic.  This makes him unique in the fire and brimstone world of conservative evangelical doomsday preachers who all loudly proclaim that the Catholic Church is the "Whore of Babylon" from the book of Revelation.  He's had to make as many videos refuting this claim as he's made warning that the end is near.  (He also doesn't see Obama as the Anti-Christ, which places him at odds with many of his apocalyptic brethren.)

Stylistically, however, he has a lot in common with the fire-breathing fundies.  I grew up seeing a lot of "End Times Timelines", little charts that purported to demonstrate how close we are to the Return of Christ.  Here's a sample of what I'm talking about.  It's the kind of thing that only a fundamentalist-literalist interpretation of the Bible can come up with.  I totally love the "You are Here" and "You Could Be Here" arrows.

Tapley's vids are full of this kind of thing.  He uses lots of print outs and pics and graphs and such.  It is very interesting to see from a Catholic perspective.  Tapley's Catholicism adds interesting elements to his Apocalypticism, as well.

For example, he has a wealth of Marian apparitions and prophecies to draw upon for imagery.  Practically every time the Virgin Mary is supposed to have appeared to this or that shepherd child or nun, she left secrets and messages and hints about what was to come.  It's pretty common for conservative Catholics to apply those messages to things happening in the Church since Vatican II, but not so common to see them used as Tapley uses them.

There is also his application of Catholic morals to his prophecy.  Did you know that people who use condoms will not be raptured?

And, then of course, there is the reverse influence that other theorists (particularly more secular folks like Alex Jones) have on his work.  I truly doubt that the messages of Our Lady of La Sallette really talk about alien abductions and zombies.  (See why I love this stuff??)  I kind of wonder what his local Bishop has to say about his "ministry" when I see stuff like that.

Of course, like most of these so-called prophets, he's made a few calls that have fallen short.  Check his channel on YouTube and you'll see that he has declared a few times that WWIII has already begun, despite no obvious signs.  He also declared that the 44th Super Bowl would be the last one.  Really?

As a prophet, he makes a much better tunesmith.  But that's enough to keep me watching.

Oh, yeah!  He's also done his own Whitney Houston death video.  However, unlike folks I was talking about yesterday, he doesn't lay the blame for her death on any shadowy parties.  Rather, he believes her death is a message from God for President Obama.  

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it! (Or is it?)

I totally love conspiracy theories.  And doomsday theories.  And, especially, doomsday conspiracy theories.  From the right.  From the left.  Religious or secular.  I just love 'em.

There's something strangely fascinating about the whole worldview.  On the one hand, there's the train wreck aspect, where you sit back and go "I cannot believe someone just said that they actually believe that."  On the other, I cannot help but marvel at people who can only deal with the tragedies, uncertainties, and unknowns of life by constructing grandiose theories.

I mean, yes, 9/11 was the absolute most senselessly tragic thing to happen to this country in my lifetime.  Yes, the idea that an organized group of terrorists can inflict such horror on society armed with nothing more than a little knowledge and some box cutters still boggles the mind.  It is scary to think that so many of the safeguards then in place failed us so miserably and so many died because of it.  It's horrifying.  It's incomprehensible.

But for some folks, the only way to make any sense out of it at all is to claim that the government was behind it all.  And, somehow, this not only makes sense to them, but also makes them feel just a little bit better because they've been able to simply explain something that is large and complex and scary.  The train of thought that can take all these little bits of unrelated info and odd coincidences and string them together into a grandiose untenable theory that cannot be toppled no matter how many holes get poked inside it simply fascinates me.  Over and over.

And scale of tragedy doesn't seem to matter, either.  Whitney Houston was a tragic figure who lived a tragic life filled with bad choices in the public eye.  When she died, it was a great loss of talent, and an even greater loss of potential, in terms of what she could have been, if she had done things differently.  That's reality.

Now, go on YouTube and search for vids about Houston's demise.  In amongst all the tributes, you'll find the theories.  She was killed by the secret powers behind the scenes who apparently needed the sacrifice of an aging pop diva way past her prime to release the energies necessary to properly celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.  I am not making this up!  You cannot make shit like this up!  Well, except for the fact that, you know, somebody did make it all up, but you know what I mean.  And that is what I find so fascinating.  Oh, and it was all set in motion by Madonna's Super Bowl performance, which was actually a Satanic ritual.

It is somehow more comforting to believe all that, rather than just accept that an 80's pop star drowned in her bathtub?  I'd really hate to see what story some of those folks would concoct to deal with a more personal loss, like the death of a family member.

And, when you go all apocalyptic on top of everything else, you get the religious angle thrown into the mix as another factor that serves to confuse and confound, while at the same time comforting and confirming.  For some people, everything has to be a sign of impending doom because of their faith belief that they're going to eminently be rescued from it all.  This relieves them both of the responsibility to make rational sense of everything, but also the duty to actually try and do anything to improve the situation.  Other than give dire warnings of doom.  Or rant.  Whichever feels better.

So, that brings us to the end of the world.  The whole 2012 thing has really gotten some folks going, since the end of life as we know it is supposed to be one of the great goals of all the conspiracies.  And we're getting people poring over every news story looking for clues and signs.  And we're getting all the predictions of doom.  And it all fits together.  At least in some minds.

Except that no one mentions all the "end of the world" predictions for 2011 that obviously didn't come to pass.  And I'm not just talking about Harold Camping, either.  He's a drop in the bucket.  Take a look.

See what I mean?  And the best part of it all is that so many of these folks have moved right on to 2012, as if nothing had happened.  (Which is, of course, what happened.)  Little to no explanation.  Just on to the next set of theories.  Like I said, the whole mindset is fascinating.  And don't get me started on the Lizard/Reptilian people.  Those are my favorites!  (To bring up the Queen again, she's a reptile, you know!)

For the weekends, I usually go into video, low-content mode.  It's easier to get posts up that way, because the weekend is a very busy time for me, with yard sales and such.  I usually do try, however, to put some kind of commentary up so you get a dash of my dubious humor or a glimpse into my mind or at least know why I picked the clip I did.  This weekend is a theme weekend:  "My Favorite YouTube Doomsday/Conspiracy Wackos."  I've got a couple of gems for you, so I hope you'll tune in.

In them meantime, here's some more reading on the subject.  And a set of fun commentary.  By the way, this guy won't be among my picks for the weekend.  He's too much of an attention whore for my taste.  (But that is a classic rant!)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kerfuffle! (or is it Kerfluffle?)

Willy Nilly!
Higgledy Piggledy!

Chaos--to use an actual English word that I know for sure how to spell.

Whichever one you choose, that's about the only to describe things around here at the moment.

My employment has gone slightly off the rails, due to an unexpected cancellation of eight weeks worth of work, so I'm scrambling to fill the gaps.

I'm also hip-deep in a house project that I thought would take a weekend, however it seems determined to take the better part of a week.

In short, probably no blogging for most of the week.

We apologize for the interruption of service and hope to be back online towards the end week.  If not, then it'll be next week, for sure.

In the meantime, you can put your hand inside the puppet head.

I always thought it wasn't fair that Linnell had to carry (and jump and dance with) his big ole accordion for most of the scenes in this video, but Flansburgh didn't have to hold his guitar.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

You gotta have heart!

I saw this at Goodwill and had to have it.  It's a mini model of the heart.

Everything is labeled, and there's a little card to identify the various heart-parts.

It even shows the inside.

It's some kind of promo for a pharmaceutical I've never heard of, but it's also cool as heck.  Which is why I wanted it.  When I started my booth, one of the things I wanted to do was include as many things as I could for sale that were unlike anything anyone else in the Peddlers Mall had.  One of the first items I bought to sell was a George W. Bush toilet scrubber.  (Actually, it was on a free table at a yard sale.)

For three years (next month), I've continued that quest for the odd, unique, and interesting to sell.  The "ed-clectic" if you will.   I do have a few of the standard kinds of items here and there, but what brings people back to my space over and over is the other stuff.  I know because customers tell me.  I know because staff tell me.  I know because other vendors tell me.  I do my best, and I have a blast while doing it.

And I promise that you won't find any Danielle Steel books.  Or unicorns.  Or clowns.  Definitely, no clowns.

But, you will find (soon) a heart model.

Because you gotta have heart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Oh Dear!

This is a cast aluminum Bundt pan.

(It's clipped from that photo of my bike haul last week.  The funny looking thing laying on it is a little cloth bag, which is an innocent bystander for this post.)

I now have four of them.  A couple of them are vintage.  One of the vintage pans is in the original box.


They say that three of anything is a collection.

This means that I have a collection of cast aluminum Bundt pans.

Let me say that again.


Somebody stop me.


I swear they were all bought for re-sale.  I do not know how this happened.  Honest.


Still, I guess there are worse things I could do.  And one of them is in the original box.  And they are kind of cool.  Geez...where are my price tags?

By the way, until I set up to do this post, I had no idea that Nordicware was still made in the USA.  You learn something new every day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And, now, for no reason whatsoever, I present...




Also, Buddha Nostrils.

And Buddha Ear Holes.

If you look up through the hole in the Buddha Bottom---did I really just write that--you can see the light from the nose and ears.

If you blow into the hole on the Buddha Bottom--I can't wait to see what that will do to my Google hits--air comes out the nose and ears.

This has been your Buddha Exploration Moment of the Day.

PS Buddha really likes the colored lip gloss.  I think he totally rocks it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Rambles

That crumbling sound you'll be hearing later in the week is 2007's post record falling as I dash past it.  After that, I'm targeting the triple digit years.  Yay me!

Lord, but I am still tired from the weekend.  We yard saled until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, since we were in one of the larger of Louisville's "suburban cities" for its city-wide sale.  It's big enough that we never get to the whole thing.  In fact, we usually end up in a different section each time, without realizing it.  The streets do not meet in straight corners and often curve and meander around for a while,and then, all of a sudden, you realize that you've circled back around on your path and have no idea how.

The shopping is always good, and I filled the car with all kinds of cool goods, including a whole box of stuff from a retired science teacher--prisms, specimen slides, magnets, etc.  It's one of the coolest buys I've ever made.  Look for some of it to show up in a post later this week, once I get the photos edited.

One thing that I find fascinating about this particular little city is the fact that within it there are several gated communities, including one that you actually have to be buzzed into.  That one was particularly creepy.  Every house was identical, right down to the American flag by the door!  We got out of that one in a hurry, before the Reagantonian Stepford clone reptile people could come and get us.

But seriously, when you consider that most of these small cities in Louisville were formed in the late 70's and early 80's as a part of white flight to the 'burbs to avoid busing and paying property taxes, it's kind of disturbing to see that there are those for whom that insular environment is not insular enough and they have to close themselves off even further!  Whatever world they're living in, I don't want to go there, no matter how many times my bike gets stolen.`

One more bit about these little cities and then I'll go on to other topics.  In the mid-90's when the effort for gay civil rights really ramped up in Louisville, hordes of right-wingers from these little cities swooped down on the city council rallying against it.  One of my favorite memories of the time is one of the public hearing where a particularly savvy Alderman slammed one of their spokespersons hard over it.

"Do you live in the city of Louisville?"
"Do you pay Louisville taxes?"
"Then why do you feel that you can come in here to tell us what we can and cannot legislate?"

Speaking of bikes by the way, Keith sent me an article about an increase in the number of bike thefts in our part of town.  One the one hand, it's kind of comforting to know we're not alone.  On the other hand, it's very disturbing to think that someone is out there hopping fences into people's yards with impunity.  That violation of our property is the most disturbing aspect of having my bike stolen.  I did, however, move both of our bikes so that they cannot be seen from the street any more.

Booth sales are holding steady right now.  I've had sales every day at both locations.  I should have rent made at the Peddlers Mall either today or tomorrow.  It'll be a couple of more days after that for YesterNook, but it's coming along nicely.  Yay!

We are in that odd time of year where weekday sales are regularly better than weekend sales.  Yard sale season is in full swing and folks are abandoning the indoor venues to try and beat the dealers to the bargains.  Fortunately, summer heat and humidity are also in full swing, so a lot of them will soon retreat back into the world of air conditioned bargains.  In  couple of weeks, I expect the vacation lull to hit, especially at YesterNook.

My project for the week is to get the Peddlers Mall booth back into shape.  It's a hot mess on a stick right now.  Part of the problem is overstocking, so I'm going to hold off on putting anything new out for a couple of weeks, and let some stuff sell down.  But, mainly, my booth time has been limited lately, and I haven't had the time to spend and really tidy the way I should.  I'm going to spend the whole day there on Thursday and see if that helps. I'm pulling everything off the shelves and starting from ground zero.  I might even rearrange a bit, who knows?

One area I will restock, though, is my books.  I've had a flurry of book sales over the past week or so--over fifty sold (for both locations)!  I've put out the stuff from the library sale and still have a huge gaping hole.  Since it looks sloppy like that, I will be bringing in more this week.  Fortunately, I  found a couple nice stashes this weekend.

If I remember to take the camera, I might document the booth redo for you all, but I've intended to do that in the past and have forgotten every time.  We'll see.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Meet Windy!

This is Windy!

He's my new (to me) bike!

Isn't he cool?  I love the lines.  He's so sleek and awesome looking.  Even the built-for-people-with-smaller-asses-than-mine seat is awesome.

He is taking a bit of getting used to, though.  He's taller than my old bike, but his 17 inch frame is more appropriate for my height than the 15.5 inch frame of the old bike.  It's just an adjustment to get used to sitting so high up.  Right now, I'm having a little trouble getting started back up from a dead stop because pushing off from that height is a little awkward for me.  I think I'll get the hang of it, though.

Windy rides really smooth.  He's lightweight, so it's easy to build up some speed.  And he takes hills really well.  I'm enjoying the ride a lot.

I also like that he's got space on the back for carrying stuff, plus more than enough room for a couple of baskets, which will be coming soon.  Windy's going to be an awesome thrifting and yard saling bike!  I'm not sure if I can fit a basket on the front, but I am going to try.  Another thing I really like about Windy is the kickstand.  I haven't had a bike with one since I was a kid.  It's so convenient!

Now, about the name.  Keith's bike is called "Townie" because, well, it's a Townie.  My old bike was a mountain bike, so I called it "Mountie."  Windy is a Windstream.  You get the idea.  (If I had gotten another mountain bike, I would have called it "Re-Mountie.")

I'm betting that some of you (I'm looking at you, Roger!) immediately thought of this when you saw the name:

I have to admit that it makes a catchy riding tune to have playing in your head as you cruise along.  However, I get other images, because I'm weird like that.  (Besides, Windy looks a little creepy in that video.  Sometimes she seems more menacing than carefree.)

This is my vision:

It's from CardCaptor Sakura, one of my favorite anime from days gone by.  Did you catch that the first card is called "The Windy,"  I have a deck of those Clow Cards around here somewhere. Anyway, in the anime, they say "Windy" with a heavy phonetic Japanese pronunciation, so it comes out as "oooindee" which I just love.   I could not find a clip of her using the card with the original sound intact, so you all could hear it.  Seems everyone wants to mess around with their anime clips on the YouTubes.

Anyway, that's what I think about when it comes to the name "Windy."

Yes, I know.  I'm strange.

And even though both of those Windy prototypes are female, my bike is male.  It just seems more fitting, somehow.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Pedal Peddling: Stuff to Consider

This is a follow-up to yesterday's post about yard saling by bicycle.  You might want to read that one first.  I thought there were some more technical (for lack of a better word) considerations that I would like to discuss, but didn't feel that they fit in a post about the overall adventure.

First is the obvious limits to saling by bike.  I know that when I make the choice to take the bike out on a yard sale venture that I am automatically limited on two fronts:  how far I can go and how much stuff I can get.  We're getting to the time of the year when there are sales (and good ones) everywhere.  I mean everywhere!  All other things being equal (meaning no large or special sales, like a church sale), I can pretty much do just as well hitting the sales in the neighborhoods surrounding my house.  This weekend, one of my favorite church sales (it's huge!) takes place, along with the city-wide sale for the area around the church.  It's all the way across town, so it's definitely not a biking jaunt.

As far as limits on purchases go, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes, I can benefit from having to be a bit more thoughtful and choosy when yard saling.  Due to the plenty right now, I'm verging on being overstocked.  It's the "feast" end of the "feast or famine" cycle.  Besides, if I plan my route well, I'll be passing the house often, so I can unload (and pee) frequently, if need be.

Large items (like furniture) are quite out, of course.  But, even then, I can pay for something and make arrangements to pick it up later.  Which I actually did last weekend.  I bought a cool vintage office chair, which went right to a booth after I picked it up, so it didn't get photographed.

I'm a regular bike rider.  I consider my bike to be my primary form of transportation.  I use it to go to work, run errands, thrift, and so on.  So hoping on the bike to head out yard saling is not that strange an idea to me.  It's pretty much a natural thing to do.  Others, of course, are going to--for their own reasons--think differently about the idea.  And that's okay.  What I can't understand is why I 'm still fat, given that I ride my bike all the time!  

One thing you do have to do when you sale on a bike is make preparations to carry the stuff you buy.  I do this with my super-large backpack (which could hold a small scout troop), the baskets on the bike, and several reusable shopping bags.  The bags provide good cushioning for items against the bouncing in the baskets, plus they can be easily tied on to the handlebars.

However, the more you buy and carry, the less maneuverable you become.  Keith's bike, which I used over the weekend, is pretty bulky as it is, but when you load it down with a few extra bags of stuff, it becomes like steering a battleship.  This cuts down on your speed and ability to steer easily. You have to take that into consideration, for safety's sake.  So if you try this, be prepared to take it slow and cautious!

Large loads also affect balance, especially on a bike like Keith's, which only has a basket on one side in the back.  That huge bag really threw things off, and made the bike only able to stand on the kickstand for a few minutes before toppling over.  That happened twice.  Thankfully, the basket cage kept things protected from scattering and breaking.  An added challenge was having all this extra stuff to throw my leg over when getting on and off.  I fell over the bike one time, which was really embarrassing!

Weather issues also come into play. I wouldn't try this on an extremely hot day.  Make sure you stay hydrated, regardless.

Finally, you also need to keep a careful eye on your bike and your purchases while you are shopping.  There isn't always a place to chain your bike up.  I didn't go to one sale on my list Saturday because I could not figure out a way to easily get my loaded bike up the hill in the front yard of the house and around to the back of the house where the sale was.  I didn't want to leave it chained up to a light pole in front of the house, since it had a lot of stuff in the baskets.  It just felt safer to me to bypass the sale.

Anyway, it may seem like something really weird to do, but yard saling by bike can actually be a lot of fun.  Just wanted to share.

Tomorrow, you'll get the chance to meet my new bike!  Can't wait to take him out saling.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Pedaling to Peddle

This is my bike:

This is my bike on yard sales:

Any questions?

In the interest of accuracy, I do have to admit that this is not really my bike.  It's Keith's, which is better for yard saling because it has two baskets.  I'm going to get a couple for my new bike and then I'll have the perfect yard sale bike!  Yay!

Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for yard sales and for biking.  It was clear, cool, and a little bit breezy.  Ideal.  So, I made up a little list and set out on my pedal journey to find stuff to peddle.

Re-selling has acquired a reputation for being a "green" form of retail enterprise.  Like a lot of other claims to environmental friendliness, I believe this reputation is both overstated and misunderstood.  There's a long blog post about this topic for sometime in the future, but I seriously do try to maintain some level of environmental sensitivity in what I do and how I approach my re-selling enterprises.

One of the things I do is try to plan routes on yard saling days that proceed along some sort of a path and minimize backtracking and fuel consumption.  And from time to time, I take my bike out on the hunt.  One time, I even set out on foot!

Another factor that worked out in favor of the bike was the presence of many sales right in my own area.  I've lived in this neighborhood for a decade now, and I was on streets Saturday that I had never even heard of before.  It was kind of cool.

Taking off on a bike to a sale provokes all kind of reactions from the sellers.  A couple of younger guys having a sale thought it was cool, and we talked for a while about bike riding and stuff.  At another sale, a woman offered me a huge of glassware and cups and such for a dollar.  I had to decline and cited space reasons on the bike and she started laughing.  Another woman at a different sale tried to sell me a basket.  When I tried the same space line on her, she said "Hang it on that left handle bar!  There's nothing on it."  What else could I do?

I also stopped at a sale with a set of sisters who were willing to do whatever they needed to do to get everything I wanted on the bike.  I thought that everything  would work out the way it was first packaged up, but they were doubtful and so they repacked and re-wrapped and re-bagged everything until they were satisfied it would work.  And it did!  Nice job ladies!

There was a benefit sale that I like to go to every year, so I shopped the neighborhood for several hours and then dropped everything off at the house.  The bike pic above comes from the drop off stop.  I hit the benefit sale after that, but didn't pick up quite as much there.  I stuffed my backpack full, but didn't use the baskets at all.

So how much can you buy when you yard sale on a bike?  Well here's the haul from both trips, all spread out.

The pic did not turn out as planned and looks more cramped than I wanted.  It started raining when I started taking things out of the house to photograph, so they're all stacked up on a lounge chair on the back porch, instead of artfully arranged on our backyard table, like I planned.

To make up for that, here are some close up shots:

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.  Tomorrow, I'll follow up with some thoughts and considerations for yard saling while bicycling.

Monday, June 04, 2012

New Month Monday Rambles

Happy June Everyone!

Well, last week turned out to be better than the one before!  Much less whiny Eddie this time around!

First off, I was able to blog throughout the week (thanks to some planning), even though I wasn't at home.  The house where I pet-sit has such a lousy internet connection that I never know for sure what's going to happen.  But, in looking through my draft file, I found one nearly complete post that I was able to wrap up before I left and schedule.  Then, on Wednesday, I was able to get on long enough to do the Doc Watson post.  That, plus my usual weekend video postings, means that I am now toppling the 2011 post record and 2008 is going to fall this week!  Halfway through the year, and I'm well on the way to making this my mostest postest year, ever!  Yay, me!

And the sales slump finally ended.  I did make rent at both locations, and will even get a check at both!  Of course, one of them won't be very big, but it beats paying out.  Now, if I can just have a month with consistent sales in both locations, I'll be one happy junker.  Once things got back to their usual levels at one site, I ended up with the third highest month for the year so far, which both makes me very happy and pisses me off to no end.  I can't help thinking about what my month end total would have been without that low sales week.  Arrgh!

So far, sales are steady at both locations.  Had a killer Saturday at one spot and a surprising Sunday at the other.  Of course, it's too early to think about anything or make any calls, but I am hopeful for a good June.

The weekend was busy.  Hit tons of sales and made a lot of purchases.  I'm going to be doing all that up in a special post tomorrow, with a follow-up on Wednesday. I hit the big library book sale yesterday for the last day 10 dollar box special and got three boxes.  Just got through pricing all that this morning.  There are an awful lot of drudge tasks associated with this junk thing.

I got a new (to me) bike last week.  The shop looking at the back up bike told me it had a cracked frame, so there wasn't anything they could do for it.  So, I ended up getting one from a new place that just opened up.  It actually ended up being a no brainer for me and a totally awesome experience!  There is seriously so much about this place that is awesome. 

It's not only local, but it's actually in my neighborhood.  There are too few businesses in this part of town.  It's a new business, which is a good thing in this economy.  It's also this kid who's just starting out and is pursuing his dream.  You have to love that and support it!

Beyond that, he's all about putting older bikes back into use, which makes us kind of kindred spirits.  Anyway, my "new" bike is totally awesome.  It's a perfect bike for riding around town and has plenty of room  to put a couple of baskets on for thrifting.  All in all, it was a great choice at a great price and a great experience.  If you're in Louisville, check out Old Bikes Belong on Preston!

I'll try to get a pic of the new wheels up in the next couple of days.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

And if the last two days didn't spell it out for you....

Yes, it's true.  I am a big ole nerd.  Always will be.  And there ain't a damn thing wrong with that.

In fact, I'm the one that's cool.

So there!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

What else can you follow Science with, but Magic?

Or at least Prestidigitation?  The ending of this one is kind of obvious and a couple of the feints and distractions are a bit easy to see coming, but it's still pretty cool.  Listen to the song lyrics for an enhanced experience.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Your Science Education Moment of the Day

One of my mottoes is "You're never too old to learn something new."  In fact, one of my daily goals is to learn something new every day.  Or re-learn something I had forgotten.  Or better understand something I thought I knew.  It takes many forms.

Between the proponents of "intelligent design" (aka the GOP) and climate change denialists (aka the GOP)--there's a pattern forming here--it's easy to forget just how truly amazing and wonderful science is.

Hopefully this will remind you. 

You're welcome.